Christoph Zimmermann: “It was a massive step from Borussia Dortmund II to the Premier League but I’m loving it”

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Former Borussia Dortmund II defender Christoph Zimmermann is now plying his trade at Norwich City. Here he speaks about his time at Borussia Dortmund and playing in the English Premier League.

Christoph Zimmermann joined Borussia Dortmund II in 2014 from Borussia Mönchengladbach. He made his professional debut in the 3. Liga on 26 July, 2014 against Rot-Weiß Erfurt and played 85 matches. He even captained the team in his final season with the club.  

On 15 June 2017, Zimmerman agreed to join English club Norwich City on a two-year deal when his contract expired at Borussia Dortmund II. He helped them lift the Championship title and seal a return to the Premier League less than two years later.

Zimmerman and Norwich City were promoted to the Premier League again last season under former Borussia Dortmund II coach Daniel Farke himself in his fourth season at Carrow Road. Farke was recently replaced by Aston Villa coach Dean Smith. Here, Zimmerman talks about his time at Borussia Dortmund and Norwich City.

Ben McFadyean (BM): It’s really great to have a chance to speak with you. Firstly, how did you get the nickname ‘Zimbo’, where did it come from?

Christoph Zimmermann (CZ): I think initially, that started with David Wagner, also during my time with Borussia Dortmund U23s. When I joined Dortmund in 2014, Wagner was the manager, and he just sort of came up with that nickname which I have had now for six years.

BM: Nice, you’ve played for some legendary clubs Borussia Mönchengladbach, Dortmund, Norwich City and also some pretty inspiring coaches like David Wagner at BVB U23s and also Daniel Farke.

Now you’ve got a new coach in Dean Smith, who recently left Aston Villa. Smith said about the new job in his first Norwich press conference ‘if it were a risk, I wouldn’t have joined Norwich.’ So, he’s obviously pretty confident that he’s going to keep Norwich in the Premier League. Do you think he can help Norwich stay up?

CZ: As you mentioned, Dean Smith was appointed at the end of November, so far he’s led training sessions with the team. I’ve watched bits of the sessions as I cannot join in as I am unfortunately injured. I think it’s a good feeling I get so far from the new coach. We do have enough quality in the team, I’m convinced of the fact that we are a Premier League side and we’ve got all it takes to stay up, yes.

BM: You are a centre-back, what do you see as the being the issues really in defence with Norwich City in the Premier League this year?

CZ: Obviously, it’s a big leap from the Championship to the Premier League, we saw the change the first time we got promoted two and a half years ago and now again. But even in the first season, we got promoted to the Premier League our defensive record wasn’t awesome, we conceded 36 goals which could be better.

And now, we’re making too many easy mistakes. Sometimes we give the ball away too easily. And we’ve been too exposed especially obviously against Chelsea or Manchester City. This season when we got promoted we said we will not let that happen again in the Premier League. But unfortunately, we keep making the same mistakes.

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